|To:||Sudbury, Harrow (TQ165861)|
|Distance:||4.2 miles (6.8 km)|
|Meets:||A407, B453, A406, B454, A4140, A4089, A404|
|Route outline (key)|
The A4088 is an urban A-road in west London running from Willesden to the north of Wembley. The road was originally numbered B452 into Neasden, after which it was unclassified. However, the road became the first new Class I road in the 4 zone following the original 1922 classification, thus dating it to the early 1920s.
Willesden - Neasden
Placing Willesden on the map is tricky as there is a Willesden Green station but the main section commonly known as Willesden is closer to Dollis Hill station, while Dollis Hill itself is generally the area around Gladstone Park, i.e. Dollis Hill Lane area and not that close to Dollis Hill station.
So Willesden High Road is the A407 and at a 3-stage traffic light it takes a sharp turn to the left just west of the Jubilee Line near Dollis Hill station. The third road is Dudden Hill Lane and is where the A4088 starts. After passing traffic lights with Burnley Road on the right, you reach a junction called Neasden Junction (a roundabout, at least to begin with); the aforementioned Dollis Hill Lane also joins in at this stage, as does the B453 Neasden Lane. Neasden Station is down that road, but the main Neasden shopping centre is in the northern section of Neasden Lane on the other side of the roundabout.
Meanwhile the A4088 reaches the A406 North Circular Road with two slip roads coming off the North Circular at each end of the junction. For those who wish to turn right onto the North Circular from either end, you must head under a big underpass to the roundabout at the opposite end then turn back on yourself to get onto the appropriate slip. Both of these slip-roads could be improved by sacrificing a lane on the North Circular as a dedicated feeder lane, which would probably also improve the safety of the junction.
We've already met the southern roundabout, which is the more complex one. The northern side does not have a regular roundabout as such: it just has a U-turning section. A lot of the danger at this point comes from speeding traffic, particularly as traffic coming through the underpass will generally ignore the limit, which is still 30 mph, and then one of the lanes becomes a dedicated U-turning lane. Traffic coming from the north is just "getting to freedom" after the trying stretch that is Blackbird Hill. The road to the North Circular from the north is not just a slip-road but also a shopping road too, and is called Neasden Lane North. For pedestrians there is an underpass to the shops.
Neasden - Sudbury
So back to Blackbird Hill, which is where we will be going. Although this is two lanes each way, there is a series of traffic lights, one of which meets Birchen Grove on the right, a no through route for motor vehicles, but it takes you to the Welsh Harp open space if you are walking or cycling, and also a garden centre. The next junction is the B454 Old Church Lane, which is exit-only, after which we reach the roundabout, which is no doubt the main reason for the tailback. Turning right would take you immediately to another roundabout where you can either slip left onto the A4140 Salmon Street to go towards Stanmore, and through the Fryent Way open space, or the right branch which is Church Road, the outward route of the Kingsbury version of the B454.
From the first roundabout, going "ahead" actually means a bend to the left, so instead of heading north-west we are pretty much heading just west towards Wembley on Forty Lane. We will have more junctions with traffic lights, for The Paddocks and Kings Drive, and then the Bridge Road junction, with Barn Hill adding in an extra dimension on the right. Bridge Road is the A4089 and is the main road to Wembley. Wembley Park station is just down that road and Wembley Stadium and complex is close by.
Moving ahead, the road now gets considerably less busy and used to have a 40 mph speed limit a long time ago, although when they reduced it down to 30 mph they didn't bother changing the road name at the same time - although by this point it is now Forty Avenue rather than Forty Lane. Junctions follow with The Avenue, a route towards Kenton, then we cross over the Metropolitan and Jubilee lines just before they split. We then bend to the left heading south, then to the right again sharply to head west again, and meet Preston Road / Wembley Hill Road at traffic lights, although they are unclassified.
The last stretch of the road is called East Lane and runs past North Wembley station before we terminate on the A404 Watford Road, in the area of Sudbury. Traffic wishing to continue heading west needs to find their way onto the A4005 to continue their journey and will probably use Sudbury Court Road just to the north to help get them there. But then they are no longer on the A4088.